UCMJ Article 98
Misconduct as a Prisoner
The MCM states under Article 98 any service member, while in the hands of the enemy in a time of war, is subject to prosecution if they:
- for the purpose of securing favorable treatment by his captors acts without proper authority in a manner contrary to law, custom, or regulation, to the detriment of others of whatever nationality held by the enemy as civilian or military prisoners; or
- while in a position of authority over such persons maltreats them without justifiable cause.
For “acting without authority to the detriment of another for the purpose for securing favorable treatment” to apply, the prosecution must demonstrate:
- that without proper authority the accused acted in a manner contrary to law, custom, or regulation;
- that the act was committed while the accused was in the hands of the enemy in time of war;
- that the act was done for the purpose of securing favorable treatment of the accused by the captors; and
- that other prisoners held by the enemy, either military or civilian, suffered some detriment because of the accused’s act.
“Maltreating prisoners while in a position of authority” applies if:
- the accused maltreated a prisoner held by the enemy;
- the act occurred while the accused was in the hands of the enemy in time of war;
- the accused held a position of authority over the person maltreated; and
- the act was without justifiable cause.
Understanding Article 98 (Misconduct as a Prisoner) of the UCMJ
“Acting without authority to the detriment of another for the purpose for securing favorable treatment” and “maltreating prisoners while in a position of authority” must have been committed during a time of war and while the accused was in the hands of the enemy; however, there are additional qualifiers for each charge.
“Acting without authority to the detriment of another for the purpose for securing favorable treatment” requires the accused to have engaged in unauthorized conduct by a prisoner of war which would result in improvement by the enemy of the accused’s condition and must have operated to the detriment of other prisoners either by way of closer confinement, reduced rations, physical punishment, or other harm. The conduct of the prisoner must be contrary to law, custom, or regulation.
Escape from the enemy is authorized by custom. An escape or escape attempt which results in closer confinement or other measures against fellow prisoners still in the hands of the enemy is not an offense under this article.
“Maltreating prisoners while in a position of authority” requires the accused to have been in a position of authority over the other prisoners. This many be due to the accused holding a senior rank, designation by the captors, or voluntary election/selection by the other prisoners.
The maltreatment must be real, although not necessarily physical, and it must be without justifiable cause. Abuse of an inferior by inflammatory and derogatory words may, through mental anguish, constitute this offense.
Maximum Possible Punishment for Violations of Article 98
The maximum possible punishment for a violation of Article 98 includes any punishment, other than death, that a court-martial may direct.
How do you defend against Article 98 Misconduct as a Prisoner charges?
When you are facing the combined resources of the military as well as the current cultural climate, you need to be prepared to defend your career and your freedom. Crisp and Associates, LLC has a team of experienced trial attorneys who have won these cases. This team includes the firm’s founder, Jonathan Crisp, a highly respected former Army JAG with over 17 years of experience in military law and a sought-after speaker and lecturer on military law. In 2015 the firm recruited R. Davis Younts, a former prosecutor who was the number one rated Senior Defense Counsel in the Air Force and has taught at the Army and Air Force JAG Schools and successfully achieved acquittals in multiple rape, sexual assault, and sexual contact cases in courts-martial in multiple branches of the service.
If you or someone you know is facing Article 98 charges for Misconduct as a Prisoner, you need to speak with a Military defense attorney right away. Please call Crisp and Associates Military at 888-258-1653 for a free consultation.
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